Chapter 21

“They have my baby! They took Jasmine,” Jasmine's mother cried. She was being held up by her husband. Her sobs echoed throughout the town. Amani's parents stood off to the side of the crowd, answering the villager's questions.

“We had no idea. She said it was a friend. I didn't know she had anyone up there until she told us when she came home.” destiny's mother turned tot he sobbing woman in the middle of the street. “I am so sorry Elizabeth.” The woman looked up from her sobbing.

“Your daughter is a witch, she deserves to die! She should have been killed when we had the chance to do so. But thanks to your pleading, we let her come back. Now look at what she has done. Your daughter will die, Marrisa.”

Marissa's eyes turned cold. “You asked for her to be spared as well. Do not blame your loss on me alone.”

One of the men stepped forwards, between the two women, “That is enough. We must stick together. We will come to the decision about the girl when it is time. For now, let us figure out how to get Jasmine back.” The two women reluctantly nodded, still glaring at one another with hate.

The men separated them, worried of a fight, and continued to talk about the girls. The elder looked at Peter, who had been unusually quiet during all of this.

“Is something the matter, Peter?”

“It's just, I can't imagine Amani willing to hurt anyone. I never had a doubt that she would save a dragon if it was hurt, but she would never let them take Jasmine if she thought they were a danger.”

The eldest council member continued to look at him, “What about the dead bodies?”

“Well, there is no doubt that it was a dragon. But don't you think they might have been doing it on purpose?”

“What do you mean,” One of the men demanded.

“They can look like humans, right? So if they didn't want to be discovered, why didn't they pretend to be a human?” No one had an answer for this. Peter bowed his head and continued speaking. “Plus, they all seem connected to Amani don't they? What if a dragon is trying to place the blame on her?”

“That is a good point. What do you think Stryker?” The elder turned to look at the gypsy leader. He appeared thoughtful.

“On our way here, Billy said he had met a dragon. Except it was a human. I didn't believe him at first, of course, but now it seems that maybe he was telling the truth. He said that the dragon had been wounded. It said by a different dragon, but he couldn't tell who it was. But that they had wanted something to do with Amani.”

“You said this dragon looked human. What did he look like?”

“Billy said that he had red hair and freckles across his nose.”

“That would be Simon,” Amani's father walked up to the group. He held both his hands to indicate he meant no fight. “He vanished a few days ago. I wonder if she knew he was a dragon.”

“I don't think so, before we sent her to the dragons, she was terrified.”

One of the men rounded on Peter, “You should control your tongue. Are you saying this is our fault. Peter looked the man in the eye. His eyes were cold and empty.

“I am saying that we unjustly sent her to her death. They didn't kill her, became friends with her. She only had them to trust because of what we did. It makes sense that she would trust them. And if she didn't know about them before she was sent up there, they could have tricked her by pretending to be humans at first.”

The elder spoke up, his face was expressionless. “I have made up my mind what to do with the dragons, and Amani.” Everyone wished to know what the choice was, but no one dared to speak. Once the elder's mind was made up, he wouldn't change it. And he wouldn't speak unless he believed it was right to tell them.

The healer suddenly looked down, “I apologize. This is also partly my fault. When I was healing the green haired boy, I could tell something was different about him. I wasn't sure what it was so I didn't speak up. I should have told someone of my suspicions.” The elder nodded but ignored him. His gaze was now focused on the castle resting on top of the hill. The sun rested behind the hill, throwing the whole village into shadow. The same way it had been for a thousand years.

The only question was, was it the same shadow as it was then? If dragons had truly been up there for that whole time, why haven’t they attacked until now? Could Peter possibly be right? The elder shook his head, there was no time to think things like that. It was time to get the little girl back. Her mother was worried.

The elder started to walk towards the council house. His robe billowed out around him. The villagers and gypsies started to whisper about what his choice could be. Sobs continued to escape Elizabeth. Outside of the door, the elder turned around to face the crowd again.

“I want Peter, Markus, Stryker, and Billy to meet me in the council hall when the crowds die down. I have a job for them.” He closed the door behind him, leaving the villagers more confused than ever behind him.

The End

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